At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Gout is a painful arthritic condition that primarily affects the big toe, but a low-purine diet for gout can help. Gout can also affect the ankles, insteps, heels, wrists, fingers, knees, and elbows. Common symptoms of gout include pain, swelling, heat, redness, and stiffness.
Gout occurs when there is an overabundance of uric acid in the body. Foods high in uric acid can attribute to gout, and many sufferers follow a low-purine diet for gout to eliminate foods with high uric acid levels. Food sources high in purines include liver, kidney, poultry, lamb, pork and fish. Canned seafood is also incredibly high in purine content and can aggravate gout. Seafood such as anchovies, mackerel, sardines, herring and shrimp must be eliminated in a low-purine diet.
In a low-purine diet, alcohol is also eliminated. Foods that should be used in moderation when maintaining a low-purine diet for gout include vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms and green peas, lentils, and dried beans and peas. Gout also increases the risk of heart disease so fatty foods such also are eliminated.
Gout sufferers should also drink plenty of water because a high fluid intake helps to dilute the uric acid that triggers gout. Gout sufferers should drink more than the normal amount of liquid each day. Typically, eight daily glasses of water is the usual recommendation, but individuals with gout should drink at least 10 to 12 glasses each day to help their bodies get rid of excess uric acid.
Another benefit of a low-purine diet for gout is that it can help an individual lose weight. Gout sufferers must also be careful to maintain a healthy weight, as there is a direct link between obesity and gout. It’s vital to lose excess body weight to reduce the likelihood of gout attacks.
In addition to a low-purine diet, gout can also be treated through several medications. Common medicines used to treat the condition include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, colchicine, and corticosteroids. Doctors who want to prevent future attacks may also prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Researchers are always searching for new medicines and therapies to better manage the condition.
Individuals with gout should consult a physician or dietitian before placing themselves on a low-purine diet. There are dietitians and nutritionists who work with people who have gout. These professionals can help a person tailor a healthy low purine diet that will treat their condition.